Single core? No more
Almost all the ports are on either side of the machine - the exception is the rear-facing VGA port. Cheekily, Dell has fitted a 100Mb/s Ethernet port, rather than Gigabit, but that's not uncommon on notebooks of this class.
The sides are thick for a sub-notebook - probably the K325 needs more cooling than some CPUs - but the M101z doesn't feel bulky, and the 56mAh battery is well integrated into the casing. All told, it feels like a solid, small laptop you can carry around all day.
A choice of colours
You might even get a full day's use out of it. The M101z ran for just over three hours in Reg Hardware's intensive test. You'll get double that running real-world workloads, even more if you switch off the Wi-Fi and dim the screen.
The review model is the top-of-the-line M101z. Dell also offers the same unit with 2GB of 800MHz DDR 3 instead of the 4GB here, and a further version, with 2GB and a single-core CPU. Prices run from £379 to £429 to £499. I'd certainly stump up the extra £50 for the second core. My experience of single-core notebooks suggests the one-core M101z won't be as snappy as the one I tested. I'd buy the £429 model and put the extra memory on myself. It'll cost you around £35. The memory is the only readily accessible component, by the way.
The keyboard's good and not all versions come with the decoration
The M101z comes with an SRS Premium sound system that pumps 1.5W of power out of the notebook's two front-facing - but angled down - speakers. I found them a tad muffled, but there's no question it makes for a more bassy, beefier sound.
So does the Dell take the sub-netbook crown away from the Acer? There's no doubt the M101z is the speedier machine, both in general terms and for graphics. The advantage the Acer has is price and and battery life: its retail price is only slightly lower than the Dell's but you can find it online for around £100 less. It runs for more than an hour longer.
Dell's Inspiron M101z delivers a lot of power in a compact, easy-to-carry and rather attractive chassis. ®
More 11.6in Laptop Reviews
Dell Inspiron M101z 11.6in notebook
Is it a Netbook or a Notebook
Correct me if i'm wrong but I thought the term netbook described a particular form factor (under 12" with no optical drive).
I did not think it described the processor, in which case I would lobby that we start calling "netbooks": crippled-ass-Intel-Atom-processor-books
It's not like it's running an ARM processor or something - which are being called Smartbooks if I recall - but it just seems pedantic for a netbook to be a netbook *unless* it exceeds some minimum (and arbitrary?) threshhold of horsepower in which case it magically becomes a notebook.
What if some madman threw an i7 into one of these - would it then transorm into a desktop?
Well, i have just ordered one of these, with the K325 dual core CPU and the 9 cell battery.
Should be good for my uni work. I will be checking the CPU though, see if it's seated in a socket or soldered on. If it's the former, i will try to get a K625 CPU and put in it.
Currys website had a few "refurbished" 1810TZs for £370. I have one. It had faulty memory, but I was replacing it anyway to upgrade to 4GB so that wasn't an issue. I have also put an Intel X25M SSD in and it (a) flies and (b) has improved the battery life to > 8 hours.
The absolute cheapest 1810TZ that I can find is £430, for the same spec as the £430 Dell, the Acer just has an extra GB of RAM. However that place is out of stock and other prices are closer to £500 and even over that in some cases.
Re: Acer is More Expensive
Make sure you're not pricing up the 1810TZ "Special Edition" which is indeed more expensive than the Dell. But the standard versions isn't.